How to Pick a Physical Therapist School near Pennington 36916
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Pennington AL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Pennington AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Pennington AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Pennington AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Pennington AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Pennington AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Pennington AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Pennington AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Pennington AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Pennington healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Pennington AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pennington AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Pennington Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Pennington AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2000, there were 353 people, 142 households, and 103 families residing in the town. The population density was 188.6 people per square mile (72.9/km²). There were 197 housing units at an average density of 105.3 per square mile (40.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 64.31% White, 34.84% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.57% from other races.
There were 142 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.8% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Pennington AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Pennington AL.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Alabama